‘UK set to deploy drones to Syria’
Media reports suggest the British military is set to deploy its armed unmanned aircraft to Syria, despite opposition by members of the parliament.
The British daily The Independent said on Tuesday that the military, which has moved its armed Reaper drones from Afghanistan, is ready use them in operations against ISIL terrorist group in Syria.
The report came days after London announced the redeployment of Reapers for operations in Iraq.
“We are in the process of re-deploying some of our Reaper remotely-piloted aircraft from Afghanistan to the Middle East,” UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told British MPs on Thursday.
The Independent also quoted senior Whitehall sources as revealing that the armed drones “would be operating in Syria as well, initially for surveillance, but also in an attack capacity with Hellfire missiles if authorization is given.”
This came after British lawmakers voted to authorize military engagement in Iraq, but they have not approved extending the strikes into Syria.
Several Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs say the validity of any military action in Syria is questionable under international law, because Damascus has not asked for foreign help.
The US-led campaign against ISIL in Iraq began on August 8, and since late September, Washington and its Arab allies have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL positions inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
Britain and several other Western states along with some Persian Gulf Arab countries have been supporting the militants, including ISIL Takfiris, operating to topple the Syrian government.